Shitty First Drafts: An Analysis
By Aisha Perkins
In the age of texting and PowerPoint Warriors, we have become an abbreviated society. Acronyms replace full expressions of thought, and multitasking has become a way of life. In this fast paced environment, any aspiring writer can feel the added stress to produce quality work in a short period of time. In her essay, “Shitty First Drafts”, Anne Lamott gives the reader a chance to breathe, and allows for imperfection in a perfect literary world. Any writer can relate to the horror of sitting down to write a paper only to discover they are drawing a complete blank. Thoughts of bad grades or visits to the unemployment line flutter across the mind. Ms. Lamott addresses all the initial fears of the writing process by offering an interesting solution; write out that shitty first draft to your hearts’ content. She promotes the concept of free associative writing; whereby the writer simply allows whatever ideas to flow, regardless to structure or syntax. Her process is therapeutic in two ways: it allows the writer to tap into the creative processes of the mind, and helps relieve the anxiety of writers’ block. As a lover of literature, it is difficult for me to accept that errors, even in the first draft, should be acceptable. One of my greatest fears is that my work will not convey a lucid point of view, thereby undermining the validity of my thoughts and opinions. However, after using her methods in writing this assignment I found I was refreshingly calm and was easily able to express my ideas. So, as I end this prose, I can only hope that the reader will show the compassion of my syntax in the same light that Ms. Lamott demands we give ourselves.
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